Letter: Right books in school libraries can help LGBTQ youth – Reading Eagle

TRENDING:
Editor:
As a transgender person who grew up in Kutztown, I feel troubled by the emergence of a group called Concerned Citizens of Kutztown, which is trying to prevent Kutztown School District youth from accessing books about LGBTQ people. They claim two LGBTQ books included on a book list are “pornography.” I want to address why that’s not only wrong but also harmful to LGBTQ youth in the district.
I read both books, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson, and what I discovered was honest and loving depictions of queer sexuality. I wondered why this group had chosen to exclude heterosexual sex scenes from their complaints.
By equating any kind of queer love and sexuality with pornography, the message they send LGBTQ youth is that their love is not as real as straight love, and their bodies are wrong and something to be hidden and ashamed of. When queer youth are sent these harmful messages, they don’t stop being LGBTQ, they just stop trusting adults and often struggle in other areas like grades and mental health because of lack of support. Research demonstrates LGBTQ youth with supportive adults have significantly fewer struggles than ones who don’t.
Small towns pretend the population of LGBTQ people is small, but I’m writing this thinking about the numerous LGBTQ people in my school district. I think of what it would have meant to find a story reflecting my experience in a school library.
Robin Gow
Kutztown
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